Whenever I go to a boat show I’m reminded that a lot of marine-quality exploration gear and equipment can be used by overlanders traveling Baja in RVs, vans, 4x4s, trucks, and even motorcycles. Here are my picks for overlanders from my trip to the Newport Beach Boat Show last weekend.
- Mini-scuba/snorkel kit
- Spare air vest
- Wicking SPF rash guards
- Portable desalinator/water maker
- Folding kayak
- Inflatable boat
- Inflatable paddleboard
EasyDive Explorer Kit with Snorkelator
Baja’s shallow waters at the shore and around islands are great for snorkeling but I often want to dive deeper to study the nudibranchs, starfish, and other rock-clingers just out of reach. Jonathan’s a pretty good freediver but would also like to spend just that much more time at the bottom. Because diving equipment is overkill we’re often reluctant to go to the trouble, so we were thrilled to find the EasyDive Explorer. This snorkel-dive kit is one-third the weight and costs half as much as a standard SCUBA dive kit at 15 pounds and about $500.The Snorkelator is a brilliant adaptation to your dive regulator, allowing you to switch between diving and snorkel mode without changing mouthpieces with a flip of a switch. The small tank gives you a total about 20 minutes under water. Find out more at easydive.us.
Spare Air Vest
If you’re planning a kayaking adventure you may have heard that the Sea of Cortez can whip up some challenging weather and waves. And if you’re loaded for camping, you’re all the more at risk of a turnover. The Spare Air Vest offers peace of mind and can save your life. The mouthpiece is within easy reach by just tilting your head down to it to take 10-20 breaths while you work your way free. Put it on under your PFD (personal flotation device). Read more about it at bit.ly/spareairvest.
SlipIns Rash Guard, Surf, Snorkel, and Dive Suits
SlipIns began as a thin skin to make it easier to pull on your wetsuit but have evolved into a variety of useful products for land and sea. They are 60+ SPF for sun protection, support musculature for workouts, can serve as a wicking rash guard that can be used under motorcycle gear, and a sunblock creme alternative for paddleboarding and kayaking (and hiking and biking and just hanging out in the sun). Enjoy the photos and videos and order yours at the slipins.com website.
In the photo below, the female model is showing some cleavage, but the suit zips all the way up to the neck.
Water, water everywhere, / Nor any drop to drink
From “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The Rainman Desalinator makes fresh drinking water from sea water in less than two minutes. Great for boaters, but lots of RVers are carrying this unit for seaside camping trips. Jonathan and I plan to purchase one of these fully-transportable units for 4×4 camping, boating, and as a backup water supply for our house on the Sea of Cortez. You can also use it to filter brackish or fresh water to remove debris, bacteria, and viruses. Models include units with and without integrated generators. https://rainmanusa.com
Oru Folding Kayak
I saw this on Kickstarter a while back and now it’s real. Fold it up and throw it in your trunk. Unfold it and throw it in the water. The Oru folding kayak is super light and very strong, inspired by origami. Comes in three sizes: Beach, Bay, and Coast. See how it works at orukayak.com.
The Bay Series – Inside the tech from Oru Kayak on Vimeo.
FRIB Inflatable Boats
Throw a boat on your roof! Four Seas in Santa Ana is the US distributor for these Foldable RIBs made in the UK. The rigid, fiberglass hull is not rolled but folded and can be assembled in just a few minutes.
FRIB has three articulating hinged sections that lock to create a stable hull. Unlike rolled inflatables, the underside features deep fiberglass channels so that the boat can track true.
The 275 is the smallest FRIB in the line and when packed is only 35” x 33” x 16” tall and 86 pounds, making it easily portable in your car trunk, 4×4, motorhome, or small plane. It’s also a perfect tender for power and sail boats.
Pair it with a 5-15 hp gas or electric motor. Carrying capacity 3 adults or 660 lbs. Shop for various sized RIBs, gas and electric engines, and accessories at fourseas.us
Sea Eagle Inflatable Paddleboards and Boats
There were a number of paddleboard manufacturers at the show but I am pretty attached to my Sea Eagle Needle Nose paddle board. It’s a touring model with a sharp nose without a rocker so that it cuts through any chop and tracks straight. In a wind, I don’t get blown around like paddleboarders with round nosed boards. I’ve used these boards for over 4 years now in Baja and San Diego and still highly recommend them. Find out more about their inflatable paddleboards, kayaks, and boats on their website.
Have you got a recommendation for a marine product that can be used on an overlanding adventure? I’d love to hear about it. Please let me know in the comments below.